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Full text of "Candle-lightin' time"

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S. G. & E. L. ELBERT 



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ELLA SMITH ELBERT '88 

Jivillnuttriam 

KATHARINE E. COMAE 



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Unibtrsitn press 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A. 



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Contents 

Dinah Kneading Dough .... Page i i 

Dat OF Mare o' Mine 21 

A Spring Wooing 37 

The Old Front Gate , 49 

Fishin' 63 

When Dey Listed Colored Soldiers ... 77 

Lullaby 91 

Song of Summer 103 

At Candle-Lightin' Time 113 



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Want to trade me, do you, mistah ? Oh, well, now, 

I reckon not* 
Wy, you could n't buy my Sukey fu' a thousan' on 

de spot 

Dat ol' mare o' mine ? 
Yes, huh coat ah long an' shaggy, an' she ain't no 

shakes to see ; 
Dat 's a ring-bone, yes, you right, suh, an' she got a 

on'ry knee, 

But dey ain't no use in talkin', she de only hoss 

fu' me, 

Dat ol' mare o' mine* 

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But she gentle ez a lady w'en she know huh beau 



kin 



see, 



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day den you 



An' she sholy got mo' gumption 

Dat ol' mare o' mine* 



or me, 



She's a leetle slow a-goin', an' she moughty ha'd 
9 to sta't, 

But we's gittin' oP togathah, an' she's closah to 

my hea't, 

An' I does n' reckon, mistah, dat she 'd scarcely keer 
\ to pa't, 



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Dat ol' mare o' mine* 

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W'y, I knows de time dat cidah 's kin' o' muddled 

up my haid, 
Ef it hadn't been fu' Sukey hyeah, I reckon I'd 



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been daid ; 



Dat ol' mare o' mine. 



But she got me in de middle o' de road an' tuk me 
t home, 

An' she would n't let me wandah, ner she would n't 

let me roam, 

Dat 's de kin' o' hoss to tie to w'en you 's seed de 
\ cidah's foam, 



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Dat ol' mare o' mine. 

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You kin talk erbout yo' heaven, you kin talk erbout 

yo' hell, 

Dey is people, dey is hosses, den dey 's cattle, den 

dey 's — well, — 

Dat oY mare o' mine ; 

She de beatenes' fing dat evah struck de medders o' 

. de town, 
An' dough huh haid ain't fittin' fu' to waih no 

golden crown, 
D' ain't a blessed way fu' Petah fu' to tu'n my 
Sukey down, 

Dat ol' mare o' mine* 

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Come on walkin' wid me t Lucy ; 't ain't no time to 
mope erroun' 
Wen de sunshine 's shoutin' glory in de sky, 
An' de little Johnny-Jump-Ups jes' a-springin' Pom 
de ground 
Den a-lookin' roun' to ax each othah w'y* 
Don' you hyeah dem cows a-mooin'? Dat's dey 
howdy to de spring ; 
Am' dey lookin' most oncommon satisfied ? 
Hit's enough to mek a body want to spread dey 
mouf an' sing 
Jes' to see de critters all so spa'klin'-eyed. 

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Wy, dat squir'l dat jes' run past us, ef I didn' 
know his tricks, 
I could swaih he 'd got 'uligion jes' to-day ; 
An' dem liza'ds slippin' back an' fofe ermong de 
stones an' sticks 
Is a-wigglin' 'cause dey feel so awful gay* 
Oh, I see yo' eyes a-shinin' dough you try to mek 
me b'lieve 
Dat you ain' somonst'ous happy 'cause you come; 
But I tell you dis hyeah weathah meks it moughty 
ha'd to 'ceive 
Ef a body's soul ain' blin' an' deef an' dumb. 

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I Robin whistling ovah yandah cz he buir his little lies' ; 
Whut you reckon dat he sayin' to his mate ? 
w He's a-sayin' dat he love huh in de wo'ds she 
know de bes', 

I An' she lookin' moughty pleased at whut he state* 

Now, Miss Lucy, dat ah robin sholy got his sheer 
o' sense, 
An' de hen-bird got huh mothah-wit fu' true; 
So I t'ink ef you'll excuse me, fu' I do' mean no 
9 erfense, 

\Dey 's a lesson in dem birds fu' me an' you. 
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I 's a-buil'in' o' my cabin an' I 's vines erbove de do' 

Fu' to kin' o' gin it sheltah f 'om de sun ; 
Gwine to have a little kitchen wid a reg'lar wooden 
flo', 

An' dey Tl be a back verandy w'en hit 's done. 
I 's a-waitin' fu' you, Lucy, tek de Sample o' de birds, 

Dat 's a-lovin' an' a-matin' evahwhaih, 
I cain' tell you dat I loves you in de robin's music 
wo'ds, 

But my cabin 's talkin' fu' me ovah lhaih ! 

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Wen I git up in de mo'nin' an* de clouds is big 

an' black, 
Dey 's a kin' o' wa'nin' shivah goes a-scootin' 

down my back ; 
Den I says to my ol' ooman ez I watches down 

de lane, 
u Don't you so't o' reckon, Lizy, dat we gwine 

to have some rain ? " 

44 Go on, man," my Lizy answah, " you cain't 

fool me, not a bit, 
I don't see no rain a-comin', ef you 's wishin' fu' 

it, quit, 
Case de mo' you t'ink erbout it, an' de mo' you 

pray an' wish, 
W'y, de rain stay 'way de longah, spechul ef 

you wants to fish." 



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But I see huh pat de skillet, an' I see huh cas' 

huh eye 
Wid a kin' o' anxious motion to'ds de da'kness 

in de sky ; 
An' I knows whut she 's a-t'inkin', 'dough she 

tries so ha'd to hide, 
She 's a-sayin', " Would n't catfish now tas'e 

mons'tous bully, fried ? " 

Den de clouds git black an' blackah, an' de thun- 

dah 'mence to roll, 
An' de rain, hit 'mence a-fallin', oh, I 's happy, 

bless my soul ! 
Ez I look at dat ol' skillet, an' I 'magine I kin see 
Jes a slew o' new-ketched catfish sizzlin' daih 

fu' huh an' me. 

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'T ain't no use to go a-ploughin', fu' de groun '11 

be too wet* 
So I puts out fu' de big house at a moughty 

pace, you bet, 
An' ol' mastah say, " Well, Lishy, ef you think 

hit 's gwine to rain, 
Go on fishin', hit's de weathah, an' I 'low we 

cain't complain/' 

Talk erbout a dahky walkin' wid his haid up 

in de aih ! 
Have to feel mine evah minute to be sho' I got it 

daih; 
Fu' de win' is cuttin' capahs an a-lashin' thoo de 

trees, 
But de rain keeps on a-singin' blessid songs, 



lak " Tek yo' ease. 



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Wid my pole erpon my shouldah an' my wo'm- 

can in my han', 
I kin feel de fish a-waitin' w'en I strikes de 

rivah's san' ; 
Nevah min', you ho'ny scoun'els, need n' swim 

erroun' an' grin, 
I'll be grinnin' in a minute w'en I 'mence to 

haul you in. 

Wen de fish begin to nibble, an' de co'k begin 

to jump, 
I 's erfeared dey '11 quit dey biting case dey hyeah 

my hea't go " thump " 
Twell de co'k go way down undah, an' I raise 

a awful shout, 
Ez a big ol' yallah belly comes a-gallivantin' out 

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Need n't wriggle, Mistah Catfish t case I got you 

jes de same, 
You been eating I '11 be eatin', an' we needer ain't 

to blame* 
But you need n't feel so lonesome fu' I 's throwin' 

out to see 
Ef dey ain't some of yo' comerds fu' to keep you 

company. 

Spo't ? dis fishin' ! now you talkin', w'y, dey 

ain't no kin' to beat ; 
I do' keer ef I is soakin', laigs, an' back, an' naik, 

an' feet, 
It 's de spo't I 's lookin' aftah* Hit 's de pleasure 

an' de fun, 
Dough I knows dat Lizy's waitin' wid de skillet 

w'en I 's done* 




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Dey was talkin' in de cabin, dey was talkin' in de 

hall; 
But I listened kin' o' keerless, not a-thinkin' 'bout 

it all ; 
An' on Sunday, too, I noticed, dey was whisp'rin' 

mighty much, 
Stan'in' all erroun' de roadside w'en dey let us 

out o' chu'ch. 
But I did n't think erbout it twell de middle of de 

week, 
An' my 'Lias come to see me, an' somehow he 

could n't speak. 
Den I seed all in a minute whut he 'd come to see 

me for ; — 
Dey had 'listed colo'ed sojers, an' my 'Lias gwine 

to wah* 




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tat I thought of all de weary miles dat he would 

have to tramp, 
An' I could n't be contented w'en dey tuk him to 

de camp* 
Wy, my hea't nigh broke wid grievin' twell I 

seed him on de street ; 
Den I felt lak I could go an' th'ow my body at his 

feet 
For his buttons was a-shinin', an' his face was 

shinin', too, 
An' he looked so strong an' mighty in his coat 

o' sojer blue, 
Dat I hollahed, "Step up, manny," dough my 

th'oat was so' an' raw, — 
Wen dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went 

to wah* 







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Ol' Mis' cried w'en mastah leP huh, young Miss 

mou'ned huh brothah Ned, 
An' I did n't know dey feelin's is de ve 'y wo'ds 

dey said 
W'en I tol' 'em I was so'y. Dey had done gin 

up dey all ; 
But dey only seemed mo' proudah dat dey men 

had heerd de call* 
Bofe my mastahs went in gray suits, an' I loved 

de Yankee blue, 
But I t'ought dat I could sorrer for de losin' of 

'em too ; 
But I could n't, for I did n't know de ha'f o' whut 

I saw, 
Twell dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went 

to wan, 

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Mastah Jack come home all sickly; he was broke 

for life, dey said ; 
An' dey lef my po' young mastah some'rs on de 

roadside, — dead* 
Wen de women cried an' mou'ned 'em, I could 

feel it thoo an' thoo, 
For I had a loved un fightin' in de way o' dan- 

gah, too* 
Den dey tol' me dey had laid him some'rs way 

down souf to res', 
Wid de flag dat he had fit for shinin' daih acrost 

his breas'* 
Well, I cried, but den I reckon dat 's what Gawd 

had called him for 
Wen dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went 

to wah* 




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Squirt a-tippin' on his toes, 

So 's to hide an' view you ; 
Whole flocks o' camp-meetin' crows 

Shoutin' hallelujah* 
Peckahwood erpon de tree 

Tappin' lak a hammah ; 
Jaybird chattin' wif a bee, 

Tryin' to teach him grammah* 

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J But when suppah-time is ovah, an t de things is 

f cleaned away ; 

Den de happy hours dat foller are de sweetes' of de 
• day. 

When my co'ncob pipe is sta'ted, an' de smoke is 



drawin' prime, 
My ole 'ooman says, "1 reckon, Ike, it's candle- 
lightin' time/' 



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44 Fus' thing, hyeah come Mistah Rabbit ; don' you 
see him wo'k his eahs ? 

Huh, uh ! dis mus' be a donkey, — look, how inner- 
cent he 'pears ! 

Dah 's de ole black swan a-swimmin' — ain't she got 
a' awful neck ? 

Who 's dis feller dat 's a-comin' ? Why, dat 's ole 
dog Tray, I 'spec' ! " 

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